Ever since I read the post at DoggieStylish.com about pet care for the post-Raptured, the phrase “left behind” has taken on a whole new meaning. I couldn’t resist putting it in my title.

That said, finding care for Frankie when I go away is serious business, because he’s a shy guy and I need someone I trust to give him his insulin shots.

Of course, even outgoing dogs that don’t have health problems need to be left in good hands. And for those like Frankie, who would go into anxiety overdrive if he was not only separated from me but also sent away from home, that means having someone stay at your house

Thus this guest post by Courtney Klein, communications specialist for Pet Sitters International.

Finding the best care for your best friends

You got a great deal on plane tickets and are ready to jet away for some much needed time off, but what are you going to do with your pets?  Answering this question might be easier than you initially thought.

The first thing you need to determine is if your pet will react positively or negatively to traveling.  Just like no two humans are alike, no two pets are alike either.  Some pets love to travel, while others don’t.  Even if your pet enjoys traveling, the type of trip you are planning could curtail your plans of hitting the open road with Fido.

But who is going to watch your pets while you’re away?  While friends, family members or neighbors seem like a logical choice for pet care, a professional pet sitter has the experience and qualifications necessary to appropriately care for companion animals.

Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, recommends that you look for a pet-care professional who:

  • is bonded and insured.
  • belongs to a professional organization.
  • visits your home before the first pet-sitting assignment to meet the pets and get detailed information about their care.
  • exhibits courtesy and professionalism.
  • provides references.
  • provides a service contract that specifies services, fees and time allocated per visit.
  • conducts business with honesty and integrity.
  • has adequate knowledge and experience in caring for pets and is clearly mindful of their safety and well-being.
  • phones to confirm you have returned home.
  • has a veterinarian on call for emergency service.
  • has a contingency plan for pet care in case of inclement weather or personal illness.

After locating the professional pet sitters in your area that meet the criteria, it’s always a good idea to conduct an initial interview to evaluate the candidates and review their credentials. It’s also the best way for pet sitters to familiarize themselves with the pets and homes in which they will be working.  Utilize PSI’s Pet Sitter Interview checklist to help you evaluate these candidates.

Hiring a pet sitter that meets these standards will give you peace of mind that your pets and home will be safe in the hands of a professional while you’re away.

To find the best care for your best friends, please visit The Pet Sitter Locator.

11 thoughts on “Left behind: Finding a good professional pet sitter”

  1. And sometimes you need a pet sitter when you take your dog with you. Want to visit New York City and see the Guggenheim … or take in a play? We thought of that possibility, which is why we have pet sitters and dog walkers in our GoPetFriendly Travel Search page (Service Providers). Check with the hotel, too, as it may have a list of recommended pet sitters.

    And as your post implies, getting a sitter or a walker is not something you decide to do at the last minute! But it does show that you can travel with your pet – it just may require a little planning.

    1. Good points. A lot of hotels that accept pets don’t allow you to leave them unattended in rooms — which is okay if you travel with a crate and can leave your pet in it, but not everyone does. And you’re right, most of the upscale hotels have lists of pet sitters, walkers, vets… you name it.

  2. A very good list of things to consider. Even with people scaling back on vacations and travel due to the economy. Many are increasing the amount of weekend jaunts and excursions that they take. Finding a good, reliable pet sitter can make these weekend trips much more stress free and enjoyable.

    1. Thanks, Kevin. I just met with the new pet sitter that I’m leaving Frankie with, a former vet tech, and I’ve got to say I’m feeling more confident. I mentioned Frankie’s stress, but I suspect I’m more stressed than he is!

  3. I’m glad that you found a pet sitter that you trust for Frankie. It is especially tough for you b/c of his insulin shots. I would be a super sleuth checking out pet sitters if I had a special needs pup.

    And thanks for the shout out on my post. It does make the phase left behind take on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? 🙂

  4. Well, Edie, you sure gave me a head’s up! I’ve never traveled with crate, not for decades anyway, and had no idea that some hotels (maybe most) don’t allow unattended dogs in the room. Nice post to copy to your dog’s online file, thanks.

    1. Well…shhhh…I’ve left Frankie unattended in hotel rooms every time I traveled with him even though I’ve signed statements swearing I wouldn’t. It’s to relieve the hotel of liability. I know Frankie’s not going to freak out and destroy stuff or attack anyone who might walk in despite the Do Not Enter sign I hang on the door. He just lies on the bed and waits for me to return. But that’s not the case with every dog, so the hotels need to protect themselves.

  5. Making sure your pet sitter and/or dog walker is bonded and inusred AND has a formal arrangement with a veterinarian should one be required, is great advice!

    This past summer I did a bit of dog walking, as a contract worker walker. A bond check was required and the company I worked for had insurance under which I was covered, but, there wasn’t much discussion about veterinarians, I would have had to have just found one on my own if one of the dogs had become injured or sick, thankfully that didn’t happen.

    When I lived in Vancouver we had a dog walker for our two dogs. She walked our dogs for 3 or 4 years, and it never occured to me then to even ask her if she was bonded, insured and had a formal arrangement with a veterinarian. :/

    1. It’s like training and other jobs related to dogs: People need to be aware that dogs are living creatures that need professional care — when strangers are involved. That is, when it comes to pet sitters, if you have a great support system with family and friends that you trust to care for your dog, I see no reason not to rely on them.

  6. You mention your stress . . . but it almost seemed like it was mentioned in passing. Quite seriously, I can’t have any fun on a trip if I am worried about my animals. Getting a great pet sitter is good for the animal–and vital for the vacationing human!!!

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